Something wicked good is comingEat This!, Latest Issue Thursday, June 8th, 2017
wicked, adj. 4) going beyond reasonable or predictable limits: of exceptional quality or degree
Hungry readers know I adore Trust Restaurant and the creative team behind its success. They were recently recognized as San Diego’s best new restaurant and with good reason; the contemporary open-kitchen eatery has been white hot since opening their doors a little more than a year ago. Imagine my excitement then, when I was informed they were opening a new venue and was invited to take a peek behind the scenes!
The new venture, Hundred Proof, will be located on Park Blvd. in the space formerly occupied by S&M Sausage and Meat. “If Trust is a restaurant with a cocktail bar, then think of Hundred Proof as a cocktail bar with food”, explained Owner/General Manager Steve Schwob. I asked him what does it take to open a new place, and he replied “a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and a lot of sleepless nights.”
I stopped by the new location to get a look at the improvements. The first thing to grab my attention was a wall-sized reproduction of an iconic Marlena Dietrich photograph – her dressed in a tuxedo. Then I noticed the wallpaper depicting jackalopes, a mythical creature described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns. Playful sophistication. The space is dominated by a gleaming white marble bar with multiple stations. Plush booths of teal blue with brass buttons line the walls. Tables seemed to stretch out to the patio through the large open windows.
Joanne Levreault, principal interior designer for JEL Design, created the atmosphere of Hundred Proof. She was charged with brightening the space, maximizing seating and creating a contemporary yet vintage vibe. She has succeeded on every level.
Owner/Executive Chef Brad Wise told me the goal is to “create a space where patrons can interact with the bartenders”. In addition to custom cocktails created by Bar Manager Juan Sanchez and a limited number of craft beers and wines, the emphasis will be placed on boilermakers. “We’ll be pairing shots with beers,” Juan said. The bar will be helmed by General Manager Mark Taylor.
A tour of the facilities revealed a massive new kitchen which struck me as being oversized for a “cocktail bar with food”. Brad revealed Executive Pastry Chef Jeremy Harville will base his operations at Hundred Proof and will begin baking breads for other restaurants. “Which other restaurants?” I queried. “Stay tuned,” was Brad’s coy reply.
In terms of food, Hundred Proof will elevate pub grub to new heights. The menu is being created by Executive Sous Chef Travis Wiesner; a former associate who had moved to Texas but was lured back to helm Hundred Proof’s kitchen. If the other menu items are anything like his swoon-inducing grilled pork belly with polenta (a pinwheel of tender smoky pork belly served with creamy polenta, sweet pear bites and a green onion relish made with red peppers and pickled mustard seeds), then patrons are in for a real treat.
I wondered whether the overwhelming success of Trust Restaurant was a double-edged sword, adding pressure and upping expectations. “The pressure is real,” Brad admitted. “We only have one chance to get this right.”
Get ready to eat and drink this, hungry readers. You’ll be glad you did.
Coming soon …
4130 Park Blvd. in Hillcrest
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